LANSING, MICHIGAN -- A disabled man and his family are outraged after a CATA bus driver refused to help him on in November, forcing them to wait in the cold for another bus.
Cedric Carter suffers from cerebral palsy, and has been confined to an electric wheelchair most of his life. Traveling has never been easy for him, but he was shocked when a CATA bus driver denied him transportation.
"It was a safe place to load me on, but she literally looked me in the face and said she didn't have the time," said Carter.
Carter and his family had gone out to eat that night. "Something we rarely get to do," said Carter. Without the ride home, he and his family were left waiting in the cold for more than an hour before another bus came.
"I can't sit idle and know that this happened to me. My wife and children were scarred from this. Not physically, but emotionally."
Carter says his youngest son still asks him why the bus driver left them, and has had a hard time understanding the situation.
Since the incident, Carter has been in contact with CATA.
CATA is aware of what happened. CEO Sandra Draggoo offered Carter a year's worth of bus passes for him and his family, plus $2,000.
"It's a slap in the face. Why offer a settlement if your company didn't do something wrong," said Carter.
When we tried to reach Draggoo, she released this statement:
"Mr. Carter filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights regarding an incident last year. CATA responded, and the agency is investigating. As a matter of policy, CATA does not comment on matters in litigation.
CATA provides fixed-route and special transportation services for customers with disabilities. Our vehicles are equipped with lifts and securement areas to accommodate wheelchairs. CATA schedules 1,200 to 1,500 special transportation rides per day and provides fixed-route service, accommodating 15,000 wheelchairs per year."
"You can't pick and choose how you treat your citizens when you speak about excellence and customer service," said Carter in response to the statement.
Carter has refused the free bus passes and offer of $2,000. He is instead asking for $6,000 to compensate for the discrimination.
If CATA refuses his counter-offer, Carter plans on taking his complaint to court.